The quality of cameras in smartphones is such nowadays that digital cameras have almost become obsolete, except for professional photographers. Major smartphone manufacturers such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) all put a great deal of effort into ensuring that the snapper included in their mobile devices are of the highest quality possible.
This is a major consideration for many mobile buyers, given that these devices have become the primary method of taking photographs for many people. The popularity of social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat has meant that the number of photographs being taken by people utilizing mobile devices has increased pretty rapidly.
It is therefore interesting to compare the camera quality of three of the leading phablets currently available. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is Apple’s first phablet-sized device, and features improved camera functionality over its iPhone 6 smartphone cousin. Samsung has attempted to pack a huge amount of functionality into the Galaxy Note 4 and the camera is no exception to this rule. And finally, Google is attempting to establish itself as a major player in the mobile market with the Google Nexus 6.
Galaxy Note 4
Samsung has very much emphasized the quality of cameras included in its range of Galaxy devices, and the Galaxy Note 4 very much follows this strategy. The quality of colors produced by the Samsung phablet is exceptional, with color production being neither too warm nor too cold. It has also been noted that the Galaxy Note 4 produces particularly realistic and vivid blues; always a testing element of smartphone photographic functionality.
The Galaxy Note 4 also produces very detailed indoor photographs, with well-lit scenes being particularly impressive. The camera in the device has such an impressive resolution that it enables users to zoom in very accurately on relatively small areas of a frame. Minute details are easily distinguishable with this camera, and it is a superb performer in most environments.
The Galaxy Note 4 also does a good job of taking panoramic shots and shooting video. The optical image stabilization feature included within the device also impresses, and overall this is an extremely impressive phablet for anyone who wishes to take photographs. Perhaps one reasonable criticism is that the device is not the easiest to hold, particularly for people with small hands.
iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus has been fitted with a superior camera to the iPhone 6, but it doesn’t perform as well as the Galaxy Note 4 in terms of detail. Undoubtedly, Apple has squeezed every inch of juice out of this device that could possibly be mustered, but its 8-megapixel resolution is not up to the same standard as the Galaxy Note 4.
However, the iPhone 6 Plus probably has a slight edge over the Galaxy Note 4 in low-light conditions. It has been noted that the Apple phablet produces a brighter, more vivid image when not exposed to a significant light source.
It also produces equally good quality images as the Galaxy Note 4, in fact they are slightly better. The true-tone LED light on the iPhone 6 Plus ensures that photographs are extremely evenly illuminated, creating a strong impression in the final product.
The optical image stabilization function in the iPhone 6 Plus is also particularly strong, and it is an excellent video camera. However, despite the fact that the iPhone 6 Plus makes an excellent video camera, the sound quality captured during video recording leaves a little to be desired, being muffled and unclear.
In many departments the iPhone 6 Plus lens is at least the equal of the Galaxy Note 4 camera, however it is worth remembering that the detail quality produced by the Samsung device is significantly superior to its Apple competitor.
The Google Nexus 6 camera is an improvement over the snapper included in the Nexus 5, which will be a relief for many given the mediocre nature of that particular lens. The new Google Nexus 6 makes significant improvements to article image stabilization, and provides a wider f/2.0 aperture for the device as well.
Detail in the Nexus 6 is pretty good, and colour accuracy has been particularly praised. This perhaps diminishes when taking photographs in low-light conditions, but it still provides a strong photographic capability overall.
Where the Nexus 6 is somewhat weaker is with regard to its level of detail and post-processing ability. The Google Nexus 6 doesn’t really match up to its Samsung and Apple competitors in either of these departments.
Video capturing is decent with the Google Nexus 6, and it can shoot 4K video. To what degree this will be required by consumers at this point in time is debatable, though. The Nexus 6 provides an adequate camera, but its performance in terms of detail and lower-light shooting makes it significantly inferior to the devices produced by Apple and Samsung.
The Google Nexus 6 has some catching up to do to rival its more illustrious and established competitors. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 are clearly superior to the Nexus 6, the question is which one of the two is preferable. Consumers will have their particular favourites, and both the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 cameras have their own strengths and weaknesses. But the detail and color accuracy of the Galaxy Note 4 perhaps makes it the ideal phablet camera.